Register now for OLÉ spring classes

What interests you? Musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein or the History of UFOs in the U.S.? Learning about Dena'ina culture or learning to read music? Maybe you'd just want a class in Children's Literature for Grandparents? Classes without homework, grades or papers – oh, my!

Or maybe you just want to hear about the exciting trips around the world other people have taken.

All that and more are in the course catalog for the spring term for OLÉ! OLÉ stands for Opportunities for Lifelong Education, a non-profit, volunteer-led organization in the Anchorage area that provides courses aimed for people age 55 and older – classes for the curious. Become a member, and you may take as many classes as you like for a whole year.

Membership is a flat fee of $150 for that year of fascination or $50 for an introductory one term. New four-week classes will start April 2, but registration opens at noon on March 7. Now is the time to become a member and browse the course catalog for classes that pique your interest. Will it be Alaska and the Tsar or Tracing your Family History? Or maybe a tour of the KTVA weather studio? Take a look at the choices on the website at

OLÉ courses are held around the Anchorage and Eagle River community:

- Monday courses are in Eagle River

- Tuesdays are held at various locations for music and culture

- Wednesdays are at the Wells Fargo Alaska History Museum in Anchorage

- Thursdays at the First Christian Church in midtown Anchorage, and

- Fridays at UAA. Parking is free and convenient.

OLÉ recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. In August of 2006, Meg Hayes (who'd heard about a similar program in Fairbanks), Susan Hawkins and Sandra Christopherson set up a lunch. When former Mayor Jack Roderick and Eric Wohlforth joined the group, they were on their way. That was the beginning. By February 2007, OLÉ was an official Alaska non-profit. The current president of the very active board is Gretchen Bersch.

What started with six classes now offers 75 classes in a year – all taught by volunteers: former professors, specialists in their fields, regular folks with particular expertise. More than 300 individuals have stepped up to offer courses, and all of them marvel at the experience–OLÉ students ask the best questions, are engaged and inquisitive, and most importantly, want to be there. It's learning for the love of it.

A class of your own

Think about it: is there something you could teach to interested classes of older adults? With your long careers in a field, you have

the experience, history and knowledge to pass on to the rest of us. Or maybe you have a hobby (opera, calligraphy, photography, chess?) that you could turn into a class.

Oh, that's another thing: Shared Interest Groups, or SIGs. Those are groups of OLÉ members who get together because they like to do the same things: photography, painting, hiking and walking.

Whether it's something you've always wanted to learn or needed to know, whether it's something that introduces you to something new, OLÉ has lots of options.

Visit and click on Membership to join. Click on Courses to see the course list. Or look for the latest Course Catalog at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. You can always call 231-0095 for information and assistance. The fun awaits!

Barbara Brown coordinates program assistance and member support services for OLÉ. She also writes and illustrates her blog, Our Third Thirds, about the third third of our lives: